Purdon hoping One Guz Hall steps up
By Jonny Turner
Nathan did it last weekend, now it is Michael’s turn.
That is the scenario for brothers Michael and Nathan Purdon, who line up One Guz Hall in a star studded early season clash of 3yr-old trotters in the Orari Challenge Stakes at Geraldine today.
To win, the brothers must beat out their father Mark Purdon, who starts the favourite Tailored Elegance with training partner Natalie Rasmussen.
Nathan downed his dad in last weekend’s Victoria Oaks when his filly, Dr Susan, was trailed home by Stylish Memphis with Mark in the sulky.
Victory would not just mean getting one up on his old man for Michael.
It would be a timely boost for his stable if One Guz Hall can continue his winning momentum ahead of the national yearling sales.
The rookie trainer is hoping to expand his team, invest in young stock and attract new owners.
“I am hoping to pick up a few more owners come sales time,” Purdon said.
“I have got seven in work in the moment, I have got a few 2yr-olds out that will come back later in the season.”
Purdon has kept up an excellent strike rate during his short career and hopes One Guz Hall can keep that going and help him to continue to build his reputation as a trainer.
“You need those horses to fly your flag and people tend to take notice when those good ones step out.”
The 3yr-old showed he returned better than last season with a comfortable maiden victory at Timaru last month.
Purdon will get a good line on exactly how well the horse has come up when he clashes with a high quality field today.
“He has got a fair amount of ability, but Saturday will be a real test for them.”
“He is up against a lot of nice 3yr-olds, but he should hold his own.”
Today’s brilliant field of 3yr-olds includes Cracker Hill, Muscle Mountain, Tailored Elegance and One Majic Kenny.
Though it is hard to say exactly where One Guz Hall sits among them on ability, it is clear he does not have their experience with just two starts to his name.
“He is still racing a bit green at the moment, where as horses like Tailored Elegance and Cracker Hill are the full package,” Purdon said.
“You watch them racing around and they look absolutely professional.”
Should One Guz Hall measure up Purdon will aim his 3yr-old at the upcoming features for 3yr-old trotters.
“We will see how he goes on Saturday and is he shows me he is up to these 3yr-olds the next race we will be looking at will be the Hambletonian.”
The leading contenders have each taken a different path towards today’s exciting Orari Challenge Stakes clash.
Cracker Hill has made a perfect start to his season since running second at the Harness Jewels with two starts for two wins in smart times.
Tailored Elegance kicked off her 3yr-old term when impressively beating older horses at Addington, last week.
One Majic Kenny has also been mixing it with older horses.
The Robert Dunn trained trotter should relish getting back to mobile racing and taking on his own age group, today.
Exactly where last season’s early 2yr-old trotting star, Muscle Mountain, is ahead of his return today is somewhat of a mystery.
The Greg and Nina Hope trained trotter has made mistakes in two of his the three trials and workouts ahead of his 3yr-old return.
He was held up and was not fully tested in the other.